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Peppers on Pizza

The only peppers I see available as pizza toppings in pizzerias are jalapenos, bells (green or occasionally red), and very rarely pepperoncini. This surprises me. There is a plethora of peppers out there, and in the age of the chilehead you'd think there would be a market for habaneros, serranos, poblanos and New Mexico chiles as pizza toppings.

Have you seen places that offer peppers other than the most basic standards?

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  1. Mild and hot wax peppers in our area.

    1. PK, most folks don't have the tolerance for the hot habaneros and serranos that you do, but poblano rajas and Hatch would catch on with other toppings. A lot of the by-the-slice street pizza in Mexico offers just jalapenos.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Veggo

        You're right, Veggo, but you'd think habs would be at least as popular as anchovies in Texas, wouldn't you?

        1. re: Perilagu Khan

          Use both, but don't expect a good night kiss.

          1. re: Veggo

            But I might expect the Khantessa to kiss me goodnight.

            1. re: Perilagu Khan

              After a dinner with habs and anchovies, you may have to settle for a handshake goodnight.

              1. re: Veggo

                After a dinner of pizza with habs and anchovies (I love both) you might anticipate a not so great nights sleep.

      2. Yes, but it's my kitchen.

        Pizza places, like most business, want to maximize profits, which limits how many toppings they can reasonably keep in stock. I agree that it would great to see more savory peppers available as toppings, but if their customers are happy with bells and jalapenos, that's what they (especially larger outfits) are going to offer.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tardigrade

          Your standard American Pizza Hut, Dominoes type wants tons of cheap greasy pepperoni on their product (that's what food is reffered to these days) Deep fried fatty chicken wings and a sea of ranch dressing. Happy they are. Peppers, that's a side line.

        2. I had never thought of this but I like what you are thinking. i would love to see more options for peppers on pizza.

          1. Oh the horror! Hot peppers on pizza!

            I prefer my pizza in the simple classic vein. A basic margherita, or perhaps a New Haven style clam apizza. At least in NYC, the trend is to more classic style pizza so putting habaneros, serranos, poblanos or New Mexico chiles on a pizza would go against that.

            But that doesn't mean you can't do it. So go for it. Just don't tell Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana .

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bkeats

              I'm a traditionalist when it comes to pizza, too, but I'd make an exception for exotic peppers as toppings.

            2. Chain pizza- green peppers are pretty much it. However around me there are a plethora of speciality pizza places and even more restaurants with brick ovens. I see a variety of peppers (both hot and sweet) available there.

              1. The only peppers I ever see offered on pizza are bell, no other choice. But around here, we don't consider hot peppers to be basic standards either!

                1. l try to make my life easier and as l am not thrilled with dry flake peppers l carry with me dried Turkish urfa peppers and apply to the pizza when arrives at table. No it does not give the bulk of fresh or canned peppers but it sure adds flavor and a bit of heat.
                  There is a Calabrian product called Neonata which combines unborn anchovies, called icefish by the manufacturer, EVOO and dried hot peppers which when plopped by the spoonfull on a slice of pizza adds heat, quite a bit, and bulk and really great flavor.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    Now that you mention it, all pizzerias here offer red pepper flakes if you want a bit of heat. I'm not a pepper lover in general so I didn't even think of that fact.

                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      My sister in Tucson gets large bags of chiltepin peppers in annual trips south deep into the Mexican state of Sonora (where they grow even hotter), and she shares with others in the family (not me). My father grinds his separately and has his own mill; my sister and brother carry bags around and use the stuff like salt. Pizza is a common target.

                    2. I will occasionally see hot and/or sweet cherry peppers on menus in places in NJ and NY. Same is true, though less often, of roasted banana peppers in wood oven places.

                      Personally, I will make a "relish", if you will, of Hatches and tomatoes from my garden and use it as a base for pizzas I make on the grill. Good fun once a year with super seasonal ingredients.

                      1. I see serranos pretty regularly.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: c oliver

                          Me, too. Just not on pizzas. I think they'd make an excellent topping.

                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                            A couple of pizza/Italian places we frequent use super thin slices of serrano. I think the thinness is the trick. It's just one flavor among others.

                        2. Hot banana peppers as a topping are common here.

                          1 Reply
                          1. I was just in St. Louis for a month and had a couple of pizzas from a small local chain called Pi. Their thin crust is some of the best pizza I've ever had! They offered raw green and red bells, jalapenos, banana peppers, fabulous sweet/spicy cherry peppers, pepperoncini and roasted red peppers as toppings. A much nicer variety than I'm used to.

                            1. Giardiniera, which is a relish of hot peppers and vegetables, sometimes makes its way onto pizzas in Chicagoland. I'm a fan of pickled anything as a foil for cheese and meat, so this hits the spot on a sausage pizza. In my travels, I've occasionally come across jalapenos, which I find a little too sharp -- something of a surprise considering I bathe most slices in crushed pepper or hot sauce.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: JungMann

                                I think giardinera is my number one topping for pizza. The sharp tang of the vinegar contrasts the fatty cheese and meat, and the vegetables have a robust enough texture to stay crunchy after an oven bake.

                              2. In Buffalo, I saw banana peppers in a couple of places. That wasn't as big of an issue as one slice taking half an hour to cool down.

                                Running through non-US pizza menus in my noggin, and I can't think of a place with anything but bell peppers or jalapeños. For Japan it's a toss-up, because it's generally not a country to visit for spicy food/taste buds, but there's probably a place (maybe Shakey's or a one-off) that offers something "supaishii.."


                                1. Some of the better regarded pizzerias in my area use a local brand of pickled Hungarian goathorn peppers called Mama Lil's. http://www.mamalils.com/

                                  I am somewhat traditional when it comes to pizza toppings, and am oriented toward NY and Italian styles, but I really like the pickled pepper combination.

                                  1. In my Albuquerque days, a local chain called Deon's offered green chile as a pizza topping.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Jenny Ondioline

                                      There's a Dion's in Lubbock. The joint looks like crapola, so I haven't checked out.

                                      While recently in Ruidoso, NM we stopped in at Cafe Rio which offered green chile as a pizza topping. We didn't try it.

                                    2. I like to sauté pepperoncini, onions, crimini mushrooms and fennel bulb for a pizza topping.

                                      Im a chili head but habs are too hot, even if they are seeded.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Kelli2006

                                        The pain is probably not worth it.. but on one of my visits to Boise I'm going to try this:


                                        Just to say I did. and then I'll hate myself for 12 hours or so...

                                        1. re: e_bone

                                          What a great website!!!!! I'm think about putting it up on FB. I won't go with you but think you should and report back.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            I got to go there but it was October and the habs were all gone. I dodged a bullet.

                                            Great vibe, good (filling) pizza, nice people.

                                            I promise a report next August if I get to go.

                                            1. re: e_bone

                                              I used to live in the Yucatan and I can confirm that the orange habs in August are hotter than little neutron bombs. I would resemble a human lawn sprinkler if I ate that pie! It's a scary sight.

                                          2. re: e_bone

                                            Cool. But I don't dig chicken or black olives on pizza. Otherwise, sounds like a well thought out pie.

                                        2. I absolutely love sliced hot pickled cherry peppers, sometimes known as vinegar peppers. I load them up on Italian subs and love them on pizza too, even though they are extremely rare. (Honestly, I even have trouble finding them in jars at the supermarket!)

                                          If you think about it, them being Italian, they make more sense as a pizza topping than jalapenos.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                            Re your last sentence, let's not even go there :) Can you spell "Hawaiian Pizza"?!?